Alex Rodriguez has issued a statement regarding yesterday's "Quadgate" contretemps, a controversy single-handedly and ineptly created by the player himself:
"I think the Yanks and I crossed signals. I don't want any more mix ups. I'm excited and ready to play and help this team win a championship. I feel great and I'm ready and want to be in the lineup Friday night. Enough doctors, let's play"
USA Today's Bob Nightengale adds:
Alex Rodriguez's messaging is always a little, or a lot off. There is a famous photo of Richard Nixon walking on the beach that speaks to A-Rod's situation. Nixon was always competing with John F. Kennedy whether Kennedy was alive or dead, and since the latter got a great deal of mileage out of being photographed in informal, "sporty" contexts -- sailing, or just looking relaxed and human -- and Nixon, who always worried about seeming relatable (because he wasn't; that a man who every biographer relates was severely uncomfortable in the presence of other humans chose politics as a vocation is one of those great tragic ironies of history), said, "I should get me some of that."
And so off Dick went for a relaxed walk on the beach. Score one for Nixon, everyman, right? Not really. Look at the picture: Everything about it is wrong, from Nixon's "Hey, look at me! I'm walking on a beach!" expression to the slacks that look like the lower half of a business suit to, most disconcerting of all, his wingtip shoes. The shot does everything it can to underscore the impression of a man out of his element.
There is a similar confusion about the infamous meeting of the President with Elvis Presley, the one which resulted from Elvis's desire to be made a special drug enforcement agent, which is a bit like Bernie Madoff asking to be put in charge of the Federal Reserve. Nixon thought meeting the King would somehow make him cool with those hippie counterculture kids that hated him so much, when in fact transparent pandering involving a guy who had peaked in 1957 was going to have the opposite effect.
So too with Alex Rodriguez. He brings the Yankees an injury, resents what they do with that injury (whatever their motivation) and so he orchestrates a clumsy PR campaign in which said doctor, who never met him, is not a radiologist, and has been disciplined by the state of New Jersey for failing to "adequately ensure proper patient treatment involving the prescribing of hormones, including steroids." No, they weren't the kind of steroids that athletes abuse, but the lack of due diligence, the pure ham-fistedness of the effort, makes A-Rod and his handlers pretty much the ultimate human exemplars of tone deafness.
The topper, of course, is that Major League Baseball may be about to hit Rodriguez with a suspension that builds in extra time (perhaps a lifetime) for his trying to interfere with their investigation via the destruction of incriminating documents. The Nixon analogy is endlessly instructive: The third-rate burglary that destroyed the President came late in the campaign season of an election that Nixon ultimately won by nearly 20 million votes -- his minions could have found evidence that the Democrats were taking direct instruction from the ethereally-mustachioed ghost of Uncle Joe Stalin and it wouldn't have changed the outcome even slightly. Similarly, Rodriguez's self-immolation came late in a career in which he already had all of the money and a performance record that was going to make him an inner-circle Hall of Famer. Instead, he had to press his luck.
This morning, Buster Olney said
A-Rod is Charles Foster Kane of Citizen Kane as he nears the end of his baseball life: In his castle, surrounded by riches, without allies.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 25, 2013
No, no, Buster. Kane, like Orson Welles himself, was destroyed by his unrestrained appetites. When it comes to proper A-Rod analogies, Nixon's the one.
Regardless of who your model for self-destruction is, "Enough doctors, let's play," is two words over the line -- you can't cry "doctors" when you're the one who dragged the interloping doctor into the story. As for "Let's play," sounds like famous last words to me.